What prompted you to create the Red Dwarf cast?
Red Dwarf is a British institution – everyone above a certain age remembers the programme with such fondness and nostalgia that their resurrection in a new series needed celebrating! The thing is, those same people remember LEGO with the same fondness and nostalgia, so it seemed only right that we combine the two in some kind of freakish experiment.
Which was the hardest character to customise and why?
That’s a toss-up between Lister and Kryton. Lister was hard to do because it’s hard to get his trademark gross-ity (which is a word) into LEGO. There was a lot of experimentation with curry stain colours. Besides, LEGO don’t make his dreadlocks, so we had to use a hat instead.
Kryton’s head is also a pretty tough thing to make, given that we had to draw angles on a cylindrical head! The challenge is to balance lots of details against keeping the ‘LEGO-ness’. You need lots of bold lines, which makes designing them pretty tough.
How does the process work? Do you sit down with reference photos and go through your bits box looking for things you can cannibalise?
Pretty much! We find the best, most iconic photos we can of what we want to make. We’re just a husband and wife team, so I do all the design and Photoshop work, while Caroline works on the customisation and actual LEGO side, ripping poor LEGO minifigs to bits. She knows LEGO inside out and back to front! Lister’s hat used to belong to a LEGO detective, I think. It gets confusing. It leads to some pretty weird one-liners that other married couples probably don’t ever say. Like “Do you have the box of heads?”
Customising minifigs seems quite popular on the internet. Is there a bit of a community behind it?
There’s a really strong LEGO community out there, and more people are having a bit of fun by customising their minifigs. We have a good relationship with quite a lot of them – such as http://www.customminifig.co.uk/ – but we started fairly independently when we made our team mates for Roller Derby, our other love!
What other sci-fi shows would you like to turn your talents to?
We’ve already made some Doctor Whos – clearly! We’re working our way through them. Besides that, I’m sure we’ll end up doing Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica at some point. Personally, I’m dying to make some Blade Runner figs, too. So much possibility!
See what Nick and Caroline Savage do next at minifigs.me and facebook.com/customminifigs. Red Dwarf X will air on Dave from 4 October 2012, and is available to pre-order on DVD for £14.00 andBlu-ray for £17.00 from Amazon.co.uk